Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing

Q. Why can I hear speech, but not understand what people are saying?

This is the #1 indicator of hearing loss. Patients who have a mild to moderate higher frequency hearing loss report that they can hear people speaking, but can’t understand what they are saying. When hearing is tested, frequencies ranging from low pitch to high pitch are tested and plotted on a graph (audiogram). It is common to hear low frequency sounds within the normal range, but not higher pitched sounds.

In speech, the vowel sounds (A, E, I, O, U) are in the lower range while consonants (S, F, TH, SH, V, K, P) are higher pitch. Hearing the lower pitches will alert you to speech, but the consonant sounds distinguish the words and provide the clarity for understanding.


Hearing aid pieces

Q. Why are hearing aids so expensive?

Extensive research and development for new hearing aids often takes up to two years of work by electrical engineers, sound engineers, programmers, audiologists and computer engineers. The hearing aids that we fit are medical devices regulated by the FDA unlike over-the-counter sound amplifiers. Working with regulated hearing aids requires extensive programming and the knowledge specific to each technology. The audiologist attends trainings on a regular basis to remain current with the new technology. Most audiologists bundle all of the fees for fitting and follow-up appointments into the price of the hearing aids. In addition, we are required by law to offer at least a 30-day trial period with hearing aids and offer a money-back guarantee.

Q. Is a hearing screening the same as a hearing evaluation?

No, a hearing screening is often the first step to determining if further evaluation is required. The results of a screening would indicate a pass or a referral for a more detailed hearing evaluation by an audiologist.

Q. Why should I go to an audiologist?

An audiologist has a master’s or doctorate degree in audiology specializing in evaluating and treating people with hearing loss and balance issues. In New Hampshire, audiologists must be licensed by the state. Hearing loss is caused by medical problems 10% of the time. Audiologists are trained to recognize these problems and refer patients to an ear, nose and throat physician.

Q. When should I get my hearing tested?

If you are:

  • Finding speech sounds to be muffled
  • Having difficulty hearing in background noise
  • Increasing the volume of the TV
  • Noticing ringing in your ears (tinnitus)


Child with otoscope

Q. When should my school aged child have a hearing test?

  • If your child is experiencing many ear infections
  • Your child's teacher has expressed concerns with hearing
  • You are noting your child does not always hear you

Q. When should my young child have a hearing test?

  • If they develop chronic ear infections
  • If speech and/or language is not emerging.

Note: Most babies are currently screened for hearing loss at birth, yet hearing can be affected later in life.

Tips for New Hearing Aid Wearers

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Learning to hear with hearing aids will take time. It may take 2-6 weeks to get used to hearing all the new sounds, and you may find it a bit overwhelming at first.


Tips for Communicating with People Who Have Hearing Loss

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Get the listener’s attention before you begin talking. This can easily be accomplished by calling their name or tapping their arm.


Hearing Myths

Myth: Wearing a hearing aid is a sign you're getting old.

Fact: Although hearing impairments are common in older adults, many middle age and younger people are affected as well. Nearly 3 in 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss in this country each year. There are many factors beyond age that can affect hearing. A hearing loss is often more noticeable than a hearing aid.

Myth: A hearing aid will damage your hearing.

Fact: A properly fit and maintained hearing aid will not damage your hearing.

Myth: Wearing two hearing aids is not needed.

Fact: We normally hear with two ears (binaural). Two ears help us localize sounds, hear better in noisy settings, and provide balanced and more natural sound quality. Most people with hearing loss can understand speech better with two hearing aids.

Myth: If I had a hearing loss, my doctor would have told me.

Fact: Only 14% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical.

Myth: Hearing aids can restore hearing to normal just as eyeglasses give me 20/20 vision.

Fact: Hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal or cure hearing loss. Hearing aids can provide improvement in communication, hearing and improve your quality of life.

Contact us today for a hearing consultation.

Valley Regional Hospital
243 Elm St.
Claremont, NH 03743

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(603) 542-1878
243 Elm St., Claremont, NH 03743
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